Danny Aiello, a character actor with prominent roles in Moonstruck, Do the Right Thing, and more, has died at the age of 89. Aiello’s career began in the 1970s, and he worked steadily for the next several decades. His turn as Sal in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and his acting roles included extensive work on both small and big screen.
Danny Aiello’s larger-than-life presence always caught your attention. Early in his career, he had what amounted to a walk-on role with no lines in The Godfather Part II, but decided to improvise the line “Michael Corleone says hello!” as he bumped off another character. Director Francis Ford Coppola liked it so much he kept the line in the film.
Aiello would go on to play more mobsters and hoods over the years, from Lee Harvey Oswald’s killer Jack Ruby in Ruby to Don Domenico Clericuzio in the TV movie The Last Don, based on another story from Godfather author Mario Puzo. But it was when Aiello showed a softer side that he truly shined. His supporting turn in Jacob’s Ladder is one of the best elements of that horror thriller, simply because he plays the part so tenderly.
Other notable Aiello credits include The Purple Rose of Cario, The Professional, Radio Days, City Hall, 2 Days in the Valley, and of course, Hudson Hawk.
He appeared in the video for Madona’s “Papa Don’t Preach” and parlayed that into a spin-off song that he sung himself, “Papa Wants the Best for You.” He even filmed a video for it.
Aiello is survived by 64 years, Sandy, and three children. Some of the people Aiello worked with have weighed-in on his passing.
I’m ? Broken. Just Found Out My Brother DANNY AIELLO Made His Transition Last Night. Danny,We Made Cinema History Together With DO THE RIGHT THING. May You Rest In PARADISE.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
A post shared by Spike Lee @officialspikelee on Dec 13, 2019 at 7:02am PST
Goodbye Dear #DannyAiello ?Danny was a Great Actor, But aGenius Comedic Actor.We Laughed so much. Making #Moonstruck ..It was one of the happiest times in my life,& He Was apart of that Happy time.Goodbye #JohnnyCammareri ?Loretta
— Cher @cher December 13, 2019
So very sad to hear that Danny Aiello has died. He was a superb actor and a lovely person. It was a joy and an honor to work with him in Broadway Danny Rose Condolences and love to his family https://t.co/NSeGCes6sy
Richard E. Grant is joining another Marvel property. The British acting legend is joining the cast of the Disney+ Loki series starring Tom Hiddleston as the trickster god, who managed to defy death in Avengers: Endgame. It’s not yet disclosed who Grant will be playing.
Variety and The Wrap confirmed the news that Richard E. Grant has been cast in the Loki series for Disney+. The casting was first reported by DiscussingFilm.
The details of Grant’s role are being kept under wraps, but Variety reports that the actor will only appear in a single episode of the series. What will that role will be? We do not know. However, knowing the type of character that Grant has usually been cast as, it will likely be another sinister British villain for Hiddleston’s Loki to face off against.
Grant has appeared in a Marvel property in this type of role before, starring in James Mangold’s Logan as the villainous Dr. Zander Rice. But as the X-Men series is not connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Grant will likely be playing a different character.
Grant seems to enjoy starring in Disney properties, appearing in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as General Enric Pryde, in a brief but scene-stealing role as the intimidating superior officer who clashed with Domnhall Gleeson’s General Hux. It was honestly too small a role for the presence that Grant grants it, and especially for the excitement that Grant had for the film, which was one of the glorious bright spots of the Rise of Skywalker press tour. Grant is inarguably an amazing actor, but recently he’s become an even better online presence, going viral with his pure joy at being in blockbuster films and meeting Barbra Streisand. Let’s hope that, even with his reportedly brief appearance here, we get to see more wonderful behind-the-scenes raves from Grant.
Loki is set to follow Hiddleston’s Loki at different times in human history, influencing major events after he absconded with one of the Infinity Stones during Avengers: Endgame. Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Sophia Di Martino are also set to star in the series written and executive produced by Michael Waldron. Kate Herron is attached to direct all the episodes and executive produce.
Loki is set to debut on Disney+ sometime in 2021.
The 2006 Oscars will forever be remembered as the infamous ceremony where “Crash” beat “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture. Ang Lee’s groundbreaking gay romance was the critical favorite and it won three of the eight Oscars it was nominated for that year: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. Headlining actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal both earned Oscar nominations for their performances. The actors were asked to present during the 2007 Oscars telecast, but Gyllenhaal revealed in a recent interview with Another Man magazine via NME that Ledger turned down the opportunity because it would mean making jokes at the expense of the gay “Brokeback” love story.
“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it,” Gyllenhaal said. “And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, 'Oh, okay... whatever.' I'm always like, ‘It's all in good fun.’ And Heath said, 'It's not a joke to me — I don't want to make any jokes about it.’”
Gyllenhaal, “That's the thing I loved about Heath. He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, 'No. This is about love. Like, that's it, man. Like, no.'”
Ledger was nominated in the Best Actor category but lost to “Capote” star Philip Seymour Hoffman. Gyllenhaal lost to George Clooney in “Syriana” for Best Supporting Actor. “Brokeback Mountain” marked the first Oscar nominations for both actors. Ledger would go on to be nominated and win his Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor race for his role as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” Ledger received the Academy Award posthumously. “Brokeback” remains Gyllenhaal’s sole Oscar nomination to date.
Gyllenhaal has previously spoken about Ledger’s disdain for “Brokeback Mountain” jokes, but this is the first time the actor has revealed his late co-star turned down the Oscars. Gyllenhaal told “Today” in July 2019 that “Brokeback” marked a pivotal moment in his career. “It opened tons of doors,” he said. “It was crazy. It was amazing. It's defined my career in different ways. [But the film] is bigger than me...It has become not ours anymore. It's the world's.”
Read Gyllenhaal’s latest interview in its entirety on the Another Man website.